This is one of those programs that really cries out for a running narrative, if you’re going to be talking about it.
I’ve gotten lots of emails from Aleks in the past, inviting me to try their program for free. I never paid much attention. It was a fairly brief trial, as I recall, and I felt I needed more time for an evaluation. Then the TOS Homeschool Crew came along, with an opportunity to try Aleks Math for 30 days.
I’ve found the customer service at Aleks to be outstanding. I had a little trouble downloading the plug-in, and sent an email through their online form. Just afterwards, I found their “help” phone number on the Aleks site and called. The patient technician stepped me through the process of downloading the plug-in.
The step-by-step instructions for setting up our accounts were clear… or should have been. I had just come back from an exhausting morning, and my poor brain… let’s just say I would have done better to print out the instructions and follow them one by one. They weren’t complicated, but I was tired, and distracted by noisy, active children. (Kind of like the one who’s rampaging in the background, full of energy and needing some attention, like readaloud or a crafts project. Gotta make this quick.)
I got our accounts set up yesterday, and the girls all took their assessments.
Let me backtrack. When you’re setting up an account, you have to choose a level for your student. Then the student takes an assessment test. From the percentages they get on that test, you can figure out whether to keep them at that level or try a different one.
So, the girls took their assessments yesterday. (Alek’s advice: If they scored 90% or better, that level is too easy. If less than 10%, try an easier level.)
Eldest struggled with the level we tentatively assigned. She’ll take the assessment on an easier level today.
Middlest struggled in some areas and did well in some areas. Does that mean go to an easier level, or start where she is? Don’t know, but we’re going to work at it and see.
Youngest wanted an easier level than what we tested her on, but we thought she’d just been freaked by the unfamiliar environment of the test. She missed problems that we knew she could do. So we’re keeping her on that level for now.
Youngest did her Aleks math today. I watched. She worked at it with only a little input from me. The program is fairly self-directed, with prompts as to what to do next, help available when needed, practice and mastery. I like the learning log that tells me what she did today:
The “History” shows progress made on this level:
And I really like the graphic “pie chart” that shows her mastery of different math areas on this level.
(I’ve scrubbed out identifying information)
The darker areas represent items mastered. If you hover over one of the pie “slices” you’ll see names of lessons/exercises yet to be mastered.
There’s also a link where I can compare youngest’s math skills to our state’s standards. But I’m out of time, for it’s past time for readaloud to start.
Anyhow, I’m impressed, so far, with what I’ve seen of the exercises and the recordkeeping.